Interns win 2009 Nigeria Young Journalist Awards

By Dayo Emmanuel – Two former interns at The Nation Newspapers, Tosin Makinde and Adenike Ashogbon have won the 2009 Nigeria Young Journalist Award. Fisayo Soyombo, a graduate of Animal Science of the University of Ibadan also won the Campus Journalist of the Year inaugural category of the award presented on Friday, August 27 in Lagos.

The duo of Makinde now a student of International Relations at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akaugba- Akoko, Ondo State and Ashogbon, back at the Mass Communication Department of Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu for her National Higher Diploma course beat ten other entrants from other media houses for the award organised by Media Career Service, (MCS).

The first runner up for the award was Nwando Osaka Ifioma of Voice of Nigeria, VON, while Ishaya Ibrahim of Newswatch Magazine was the second runner up.

Vincent Nzemeke of Mass Communication department of the Delta State University, Abraka, Delta State was the first runner up in the student category, while Hannah Ojo of the English Department of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Oyo State was the second runner up.

Makinde and Ashogbon got a Laptop computer as prize for the award, while Soyombo got a multi-purpose phone. The runners up and other entrants also got multi-purpose phone, digital recorders and book prizes sponsored mainly by the Rivers State government. Segun Adeoye of Tell Magazine and 2007 Nigeria Young Journalist award winner who presented the Award Judges reported commended the high quality of the entries for the two categories.

He explained the various entries were judged based on quality of reports submitted, diversity of coverage and recommendations by supervisors.

Entries by Makinde and Ashogbon included Lost in Paradise based on a tour report by a student group formerly The Voices, now Real Impact for Development Foundation ( to five villages in Obafemi Owode Local government in Ogun State, Seasonal Schools, based on visits to village schools in Ogun, Oyo and Lagos States, and Return of bridge culture, all published in The Nation Newspaper during their one year industrial attachment programme after their Ordinary National Diploma course in Mass Communication at the Lagos Polytechnic, Ikorodu.

“The stories that won the duo the award have been self-sponsored along with their other colleagues. They didn’t ask for refund for their humanitarian and advocacy tours to several villages across the South West region to document in their own words, first hand real state of

poverty in the country.

“They have the video of their tours; a blog and facebook page to publice their work in line with the emerging multi-media approach to journalism practice. Makinde and Ashogbon represent the face of the future of journalism in Nigeria” the organisers stated in the citation for the joint winners.

Apart from his numerous campus publications and activities , Soyombo won with three entries Power Disaster: UI Students whimper in ‘Powerlessness’, Two minutes of madness that cost me my eyes , published in The Guardian on Sunday and UI’s new agenda published in the Campus Life section of The Nation.

“That Soyombo won the prize against stiff competition from other colleagues is an acknowledgement of his untiring efforts to use various medium to draw attention to various issues on his school campus and other issues affecting students and the public”.

An overwhelmed Ashogbon who received the award on behalf of herself and Makinde was short of words when asked to respond. “This is like a dream. We were just doing our own thing and never knew it will result in an award like this”.

“This will definitely inspire us to do more. We thank all those who have supported and mentored us”. Ashogon stated.

Soyombo thanked The Editor of The Guardian on Sunday, Jahman Anikulapo, Editor of CampusLife pull-out of The Nation, Ms Ngozi Nwozor for the opportunity given him to write on campus issues over the years.

“On campus many people could not understand why as an Animal Science student, I spent most of my time writing. I am glad I have been proved right by this award which means a lot to me” Soyombo stated.

Executive Director of Journalists Against AIDS, (JAAIDS), Ms Olayide Akanni who was the chairperson of the award ceremony commended the winners and urged them and other young journalists keep striving to improve on the quality of media practice in the country.

Chief Executive Officer of Posterity Media, O’femi Kolawole who was also a special guest at the programme urged young journalists to take time to learn best media practices from outstanding professionals.

The 2009 award is the forth edition of the competition which past winners include Adesina Oyetayo of Punch Newspapers (formerly of Tell Magazine), who won the first edition in 2006, Adeoye of Tell, 2007 and Bilewomo Ademilola also of Tell, 2008.

Initiator of the award, Lekan Otufodunrin who is Sunday Editor of The Nation explained that the award is part of the programmes of the MCS to provide opportunities and resources for journalists to enhance their career.

Emmanuel is Programme Officer of Media Career Services, Lagos